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ePub Soldiers of the French Revolution (Bicentennial Reflections on the French Revolution) download

by Alan Forrest

ePub Soldiers of the French Revolution (Bicentennial Reflections on the French Revolution) download
Author:
Alan Forrest
ISBN13:
978-0822309352
ISBN:
0822309351
Language:
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books; First Edition edition (November 29, 1989)
Category:
Subcategory:
Europe
ePub file:
1784 kb
Fb2 file:
1301 kb
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Rating:
4.6
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299

Series: Bicentennial Reflections on the French Revolution. Paperback: 200 pages. Alan Forrest is one of the great writers on French military history. His focus is not on the battles itself but the social construct of the army

Series: Bicentennial Reflections on the French Revolution. His focus is not on the battles itself but the social construct of the army. No one does it better and this book focuses on the structure and political make up of the army. Forrest argues that the army was politically aware and reacted to ideological changes. It was made primarily of volunteers who were enthusiastic to fight and it would be a mark of pride for them to have taken arms to fight for the revolution.

Start by marking Soldiers of the French Revolution (Bicentennial reflections on the French .

Start by marking Soldiers of the French Revolution (Bicentennial reflections on the French Revolution) as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Reflections on the Revolution in France. Reflections on the Revolution in France is a political pamphlet written by the Irish statesman Edmund Burke and published in November 1790. One of the best-known intellectual attacks against the French Revolution, Reflections is a defining tract of modern conservatism as well as an important contribution to international theory.

Book Format: Choose an option. Forrest places the armies of the Revolution in a broader soc. Tell us if something is incorrect.

The French Revolution was a period of major social upheaval that began in 1787 and ended in 1799. It sought to completely change the relationship between the rulers and those they governed and to redefine the nature of political power. It proceeded in a back-and-forth process between revolutionary and reactionary forces. Why did the French Revolution happen? There were many reasons. The s, manufacturers, professionals-had gained financial power but were excluded from political power

PDF The French Revolution traces the long and short term causes of the French Revolution to the October . Book · January 2015 with 83,852 Reads. How we measure 'reads'

PDF The French Revolution traces the long and short term causes of the French Revolution to the October Days and its consequences up to th. . How we measure 'reads'.

Since you have selected the Revolution Society as the great object of your national thanks and praises, you will think me excusable in making its late conduct the subject of my observations. The National Assembly of France has given importance to these gentlemen by adopting them; and they return the favor by acting as a committee in England for extending the principles of the National Assembly.

In the Reflections, Burke argued that the French Revolution would end disastrously because its abstract .

In the Reflections, Burke argued that the French Revolution would end disastrously because its abstract foundations, purportedly rational, ignored the complexities of human nature and society. Further, he focused on the practicality of solutions instead of the metaphysics, writing "What is the use of discussing a man's abstract right to food or to medicine?

The French Revolution created turmoil across the whole of Europe, via a series of events which continue to.On this list, you’ll find Doyle’s book on the origins of the revolution, but if you want to move onto the modern state of the historiography this collection of essays is perfect.

The French Revolution created turmoil across the whole of Europe, via a series of events which continue to captivate and inspire massive debate. As such, there is a vast range of literature on the topic, much of it involving specific methodologies and approaches. Each tackles a range of different ‘causes’ and it isn’t all financial (although if there’s ever an event where reading up on the financials pays of.

In this work Alan Forrest brings together some of the recent research on the Revolutionary army that has been undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic by younger historians, many of whom look to the influential work of Braudel for a model. Forrest places the armies of the Revolution in a broader social and political context by presenting the effects of war and militarization on French society and government in the Revolutionary period.Revolutionary idealists thought of the French soldier as a willing volunteer sacrificing himself for the principles of the Revolution; Forrest examines the convergence of these ideals with the ordinary, and often dreadful, experience of protracted warfare that the soldier endured.
  • Alan Forrest is one of the great writers on French military history. His focus is not on the battles itself but the social construct of the army. No one does it better and this book focuses on the structure and political make up of the army. Forrest argues that the army was politically aware and reacted to ideological changes. It was made primarily of volunteers who were enthusiastic to fight and it would be a mark of pride for them to have taken arms to fight for the revolution. This budding nationalism allows for the success of the military and Forrest weaves a beautiful verbal tapestry that allows the reader to see what the French army really looked like.

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  • In Soldiers of the French Revolution, historian Alan Forrest attempted to reassess previous views of France's revolutionary army, explain how it functioned during the political tumult of the era, and understand the inner workings of the institution. Dr. Forrest is highly qualified to take on this subject as he holds a Ph.D. from Oxford and currently is a member of the faculty of the University of York. His previous publications include 1975's Society and Politics in Revolutionary Bordeaux, 1981's The French Revolution and the Poor, and 1989's Conscripts and Deserters: The Army and French Society during the Revolution and Empire.

    Soldiers of the French Revolution examined many themes in its two hundred pages. Forrest noted in his brief introduction that the work is not simply a study of military campaigns and the fortunes of the revolutionary army on the field of battle. However, Forrest did include a brief overview of the war's progress during the revolutionary era to provide context for the themes he addressed. He noted that “war had become an integral part of the politics of the revolutionary state,” though also wrote that there had never been any real consensus of the “essential character of the revolutionary wars” (5). The traditional French perspective, and the one that has perhaps gained the most credence among historians, is that France had embraced a new, revolutionary ideology that was wholly incompatible with the institutions of traditional monarchy, and thus France was set upon a collision course with the rest of Europe. Because of the chaos of revolutionary upheaval, the revolution required a permanent war footing, a state of emergency in which it could operate.

    Forrest wrote, however, that that view of the revolution and its wars was not necessarily the case, or at least not wholly so. Forrest made the point that while indeed ideology played a major role, it is not incompatible with the interpretation that France's revolutionary wars were, in essence, merely the natural extension of centuries of European rivalry and warfare. Historian T. C. W. Blanning championed this view of the revolutionary wars within the context of Europe's ongoing wars, and that Britain's alliance against France did not stem so much from hatred of the revolutionary regime as from simple European power politics. “It was an alliance forged in the most traditional of causes, that of political self-interest” (11). Forrest made a good case that the two interpretations were not mutually exclusive.

    The basis of the book, in many ways, stemmed from Forrest's assertion that the French army itself needed to change to meet the challenges of the era. Under the lens of revolutionary politics, the army needed to be examined closely. Ideological as well as practical concerns led revolutionary leaders to consider and ultimately implement vast reforms that drastically altered many aspects of the army. France could not simply dissolve the line army that had served the ancien régime. Rather, revolutionary leaders sought to alter it in such a way that its utility as a fighting force would be preserved, but it's collective attitude, morale, and loyalty would be brought into ideological compliance with the new regime.

    Forrest considers the reorganization of army at this time from the three basic units that served the ancien régime- the household regiments, the line regiments, and the militia- into a politically awakened fighting force. Revolutionary leaders sought to create a unity between the army and the people that would transcend local attachments and identifications with home provinces and regions. How could units be loyal to the new regime if in their heart they still considered themselves Bretons, Normans, or Alsatians. “A truly national army, bound to the state and committed to the defense of France and her Revolution, was the goal to which the men of 1789 subscribed” (29).

    Forrest noted that only 14 percent of those recruited for military service during the ancien régime had been born in Paris. There was resistance to military service in many quarters at the time, however. Forrest wrote that the military had a perception among many French families of being a drunken, looting, raping mob. Such a perception led to widespread contempt for soldiers and a social rift between civilians and the military.

    Forrest wrote that some reformers tried to bridge this gap. Hippolyte de Guibert who, while a servant of the Bourbon kings, had nevertheless brought the lessons of the Enlightenment to the art of war. Guibert, who studied the army of Frederick the Great among others, believed that patriotism must be a key component in a modern army. Guibert's notion of war depended upon “enthusiasm and sheer numbers” (40). Joseph Servan, another military reformer who appeared before the revolution, offered a 1780 pamphlet titled Le Soldat citoyen, in which he advocated a serious reconsideration of the military status quo. He was critical of officers who ignored key questions and sought to fan the flames of inquiry about just how a modern national military force should operate. He envisioned a nation of citizen soldiers, which could bridge the gap between the civilian and military spheres.

    Forrest noted that the revolution had always seen a delicate balance between revolutionary ideas of liberty and the necessity of a disciplined fighting force that would follow orders. As the revolution evolved throughout the 1790s, the balance tilted toward professionalism and discipline. Forrest wrote that this did not indicate a return to the status quo of the ancien régime, but rather of a “military machine that was increasingly devoid of political idealism and independent of political control” (57).

    Forrest offers a detailed study of how soldiers were recruited during this period. Despite enthusiastic recruits who poured into the army initially, eventually revolutionary leaders had to resort to conscription to meet their target numbers. In early 1793, the regime introduced the levée des 300,000, which was intended to bring 300,000 soldiers into the army by the summer. It only succeeded in recruiting half that number but did manage to bolster the manpower of the army and replace its losses. By the fall the far more radical levée en masse was introduced, and it served as a measure of political orthodoxy toward the revolution as much as a recruiting tool. “An individual's attitude to military service was now seen as an integral part of his attitude to the Revolution...” (75).

    The book also deals with themes such as how the soldiers were revolutionized, and why it was important given the various alterations in revolutionary policy. The threat of a mutiny or general army revolt was never far from the thoughts of the regime, Forrest wrote, and therefore political indoctrination was seen as a way of both increasing morale and maintaining control. Forrest also considers the practical issues of supplying such a large military force, the everyday lives of revolutionary soldiers, and the direct relationship between the soldiers and the state.

    Clive Emsley, writing in The English Historical Review, noted that Forrest set out to understand just how much the legend of the heroic French Revolutionary soldier compared to the reality of men fighting for the Revolution. He wrote that “overall this book provides a judicious and most readable account of its subject.” Sam Scott, writing in The American Historical Review, stated that “The result is a clear, concise synthesis that conveys a genuine understanding of the subject, the soldiers of the French revolution,” and that it “is the kind of work that most historians should aspire to write”.

    The book is largely a synthesis of previous works on the subject, and Forrest's bibliography is impressive. He draws upon studies as varied as A. Picq's La Législation militaire du l'époque révolutionnaire (1932), Georges Lefebvre's The French Revolution (1962), Jean-Paul Bertaud's La Révolution armée: Les Soldats-citoyens et la Révolution Française (1979), and Geoffrey Best's War and Society in Revolutionary Europe, 1770-870 (1982), to name but a few. Forrest offers a helpful bibliographical essay at the conclusion of the book to help put each work into its proper context.

    Forrest's book is a fascinating look at the soldiers that served the French revolutionary government at the end of the 18th century, and makes the reader appreciate the material, logistical, political, and morale challenges that had to be overcome. This is to say nothing, of course, of the tactical and operational considerations and innovations that occurred as well. By mining his various sources, Forrest was able to create a work on the the subject that is both entertaining and highly informative.

    Chapter six contains some of the most enlightening passages, as Forrest explored the lives of soldiers. Here, he noted that historians can only draw so much information on the topic, as it depended upon the limited primary sources available. More information is available on the officer class, as it was they who wrote journals, and later offered their memoirs. Common soldiers, however, rarely did these things. Forrest wrote, “Drawn principally from the popular classes of French society, they were often illiterate and seldom left records for posterity” (155).

    It was from letters home that Forrest constructs much of their world. For instance, Forrest noted that many soldiers disliked life in the army and looked forward to their post-war return to civilian life. Indeed, many hated the fact that the prime of their lives was spent in military service. Forrest also provides a virtual list of complaints that soldiers had about their lives spent in the service of France. The day-to-day irritations and nuisances included lice, unsanitary camp conditions that frequently brought disease, cold and shortages in winter, frequently dirty clothes, and the condition that was sure to sap morale over time, the virtually constant boredom. Forrest also noted that for officers the prospect of promotion could become an obsession. Also, officers could become so invested in military life that they appeared to have lost all connection with what it was to be a civilian. The civilians, for their part, often came to see the armies as representative of the distant Paris government, which was often antithetical to their own ways of life and feared rather than embraced them.

    One constant theme that echoes throughout this work is propaganda. The revolutionary government saw their propaganda attempts as necessary to control both the military and civilian population, in a way that anticipated total propagandistic efforts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in the 20th century. Forrest noted that the revolutionary leaders saw propaganda as essential in recruiting efforts, though the reality was that the vast distances from Paris ensured that out-of-the-way rural communities hardly felt the impact of such political tools. Indeed, Forrest wrote, “Despite all the innovation of the revolutionary years, large parts of France remained traditional and largely autarchic, impervious to the propagandist appeal of the nation-state” (187-188).

    In general, Alan Forrest's Soldiers of the French Revolution is a brilliant work that highlights the many intricacies and nuances of those who served at the time. More than that, however, it is a penetrating comment upon the reality of how policies emanating from Paris met with reality in the army camps. Forrest systematically engaged his themes by rigorous use of secondary and primary sources. It was not Forrest's intention to create a groundbreaking work based largely upon original research. Rather, he skillfully mined the vast historiography of secondary sources to produce a synthetic work that addressed the reality of how the French Revolutionary Army was created, how it was directed, how it's men lived, how they fought, and how they served the regime.

    Forrest concluded his work by noting the story of Pierre Perdiguier, from the village of Morières. Perdiguier had served with the Revolutionary Army and then Napoleon's forces, proudly marching in their campaigns and fighting in their battles. His service had made him a hero in his hometown. By 1815, with Louis XVIII on the throne for the second time, however, he was seen as politically suspect and he and his family were persecuted as dangerous radicals. It was that perception of the French Revolutionary soldier as a political radical driven by revolutionary zeal that became the legend of the Revolutionary Army. Forrest's work admirably deconstructs this legend.